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Playbook: Childress leads Wake Forest past North Carolina

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The Deacs take down the Heels for the first time since 2014

North Carolina v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

You might be wondering what year it is after reading that headline, but I assure you, it is still 2020. For the first time since the championship game of the 1995 ACC Tournament, a Childress led the Demon Deacons to a win over the Tar Heels. Senior point guard Brandon Childress had arguably his best game of the season, and maybe even his career, on Tuesday night as he fueled the Deacs past the Heels by a score of 74-57. Childress finished the game with 14 points and a career high 10 assists with just 2 turnovers. It was Wake’s first win over UNC since 2014 and their biggest margin of victory in the series since 2002.

The Deacs really didn’t do anything different in this game than they have all season; they just did a better job executing it against a UNC team that—frankly— is not very good and didn’t seem very prepared to play a basketball game. Childress flourished playing the role of a floor general, being patient in the offense and taking what the defense gave him, as opposed to trying to force the issue and being careless with the basketball. When the Heels clogged the paint, he made the simple pass to the perimeter for open 3-pointers.

Andrien White had another great game shooting the basketball, finishing with 15 points on 40% shooting from beyond the arc. Three of his four 3-pointers were assisted by Childress.

Likewise, when UNC stayed out on the perimeter to cover the shooters, Childress was able to find Olivier Sarr and Ody Oguama rolling to the basket for extremely high percentage shots.

As a side note, you can also see the effect Andrien White has on an opposing defense when he is shooting well. In both cases above, the weak side defender gravitates towards White in the corner and is too far out to play any help defense on the rolling big man.

Even when the clock was running down, Childress continued to make the right plays.

With under a minute left and a 10 point lead, a lot of times the ball handler will run the shot clock all the way down to 1 and then just force up whatever horrible shot he can at the buzzer. Childress, however, runs the clock down and then passes to Brown wide open in the corner for a 3 to ice the game. Childress displayed great decision making all night, and the result was a blow out win over the Tar Heels.

On the defensive side of things, Ody Oguama had a really good game for the Deacs.

The freshman finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds. and 2 blocks in 28 minutes. He did a great job defending Garrison Brooks without fouling by being in the right position and staying completely vertical (even in the block on Cole Anthony above, Oguama jumps perfectly straight up to avoid being called for a foul).

That was important because Olivier Sarr, who appeared to have some sort of knee injury, was able to play just 13 minutes. Brooks finished the game with 7 points, well below his average, on 0-5 shooting from the floor. Oguama continues to improve and easily has the best motor in the ACC. I don’t think it’s going to be long before he’s getting double-doubles on a consistent basis.

Even if they are really bad, it’s always fun to beat the Heels. Hopefully the Deacs can use this win to build some momentum for the final few games of the regular season. The next matchup is Saturday against Miami, who—if I’m not mistaken—is now tied with Wake for 14th in the ACC. Wake Forest hasn’t won back to back ACC games since the 2016-17 season, so they will probably need another great game out of Childress to get W down in Coral Gables.